UFC president Dana White announced on the “Jim Rome Show” Friday in Miami that UFC “BMF” champion Jorge Masvidal would get the next crack at UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in July during International Fight Week in Las Vegas.
“Him (Masvidal) and Usman will fight in Vegas, probably International Fight Week, and then if (Masvidal) wins maybe we’ll do his first title defense down here in Miami,” White said.
When asked by Rome to confirm if Masvidal vs. Usman was the next contest for both fighters, White admitted the company hadn’t announced the fight officially yet but that he was essentially announcing it officially to Rome right there during the interview.
“Yeah, that was always the plan, and then whatever happened with them a few days ago, yeah,” White said. “We hadn’t announced it yet, but now this has forced me to announce it.”
Masvidal and Usman got into an altercation earlier in the week at the Super Bowl Radio Row. Now it appears the two will settle the score in July.
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Fight Likely To Take Place July 11 at T-Mobile Arena
The yet-to-be numbered UFC card featuring Usman vs. Masvidal is likely to be held at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, July 11.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the city approved funding for the city-wide event back in November with that arena listed as the event’s location. International Fight Week is scheduled to run from July 7 to July 12.
July 11 is the only Saturday of the scheduled event, so the UFC fight card featuring Usman’s title defense against Masvidal will most assuredly be held on that day.
Why Usman vs. Masvidal Makes Sense
Masvidal is the No. 3 welterweight contender according to the UFC’s official rankings, making him the top-rated 170-pound challenger that UFC welterweight champion Usman hasn’t yet faced.
Moreover, Masvidal is coming off a huge 2019 campaign that earned him Fighter of the Year nod by many publications. In fact, the 35-year-old from Miami has become one of the biggest stars in the sport since scoring stoppage wins in succession over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz. Now Masvidal will set his sights on Usman.
But Usman also enjoyed a stellar 2019. The Nigerian-born American defeated Tyron Woodley in March for the UFC welterweight title and defended his new belt against former interim champion Colby Covington in December. Both wins were via decision, but Usman was the clear victor. Now Usman will take on perhaps his toughest challenge, the hottest contender in the sport in any division, Masvidal.
Two Potential Conor McGregor Opponents Off Table Now
Both Masvidal and Usman expressed interest in facing Conor McGregor next. McGregor, 31, from Dublin, returned to the sport first time since 2018 to stop Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in a welterweight showdown at UFC 246 on Jan. 18.
But it appears neither fighter will get their hands on McGregor next. Instead, the two dangerous welterweights will have to settle for each other in what would still be considered one of the best fights that could happen in 2020 in the welterweight division.
Besides, McGregor’s 40-second drubbing of Cerrone was only the Irishman’s third fight at welterweight ever. Moreover, both McGregor and Cerrone entered the contest ranked in the lightweight division, and McGregor likely wants to be ready to face the winner of the upcoming UFC 249 in April between UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor via fourth-round submission at UFC 229 in October 2018 in the best-selling UFC pay-per-view event in history.